What does supper mean to you?
When I was a kid, it was cheese on toast with a glass of milk before going to bed. Mind you, back then we ate dinner at lunch time and tea at dinner time.
I did have the faint notion that supper meant something entirely different to posher folk.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary, supper is “an evening meal, typically a light or informal one”, synonymous with dinner.
At Oddfellows on the Park, that splendid mid-Victorian boutique hotel in Cheadle, newly arrived talented young chef Ross Chatburn is taking the term to a whole new level.
His newly inaugurated Supper Club, a fizz-fuelled reception followed by four sumptuous courses with matching wines for £69 a head, is well worthy of regular repeat performances.
Ross has a strong Manchester culinary heritage, joining the team in Bruntwood Park from Hotel Gotham in Manchester. A local lad, he grew up minutes from Oddfellows On The Park and spent many happy hours playing in Bruntwood Park as a child. Now he forages in the park’s 120 acres for ingredients.
Oddfellows’ Galloping Major dining room takes its name from when the hall was at the centre of one of the most successful race horse studs in the country and is a clever mix of the contemporary with 19th Century high gothic.
Beneath the magnificently ornate plaster ceiling, picked out in white and aquamarine, unclad tables, chairs and wall lighting are, by contrast, stylishly modern. The open theatre kitchen is visible behind a striking colonnade.
Ross Chatburn’s version of supper comprised a perfectly balanced four-course menu with fascinating wine pairings chosen by founder Gerrard Seel and managing director Roger Barlow.
The opening dish, a complex and beguiling collation of venison tartare, enriched with bone marrow and lifted by the subtle favours of fennel and pine, was matched with a fresh, floral, apple-fruity organic 2017 pinot blanc from one of the most respected producers in Alsace, Sipp Mack.
The fish course brought a thick and meaty tranche of that rising star, stone bass aka Atlantic wreckfish – sweet and firm, served with cockles with a sublimely silky mushroom-infused consommé poured over. It was partnered by a second white wine – crisp, refreshing 2016 verdejo from northern Spain’s Rueda region.
Chef Chatburn’s imaginative flavour combinations continued with his marriage of tender, flavourful lamb rump, cooked just-so pink, with parsnip puree, Parmesan and apple, whose sweetness was tempered by the bitterness of cavolo nero (main pic).
Staying in Spain, 2016 Rioja from the Sierra Cantabria bodega provided classy blackberry and raspberry notes and nuanced spicy vanilla without being overburdened by excessive oak.
Pudding was a showstopper, both in looks and taste. Ruby chocolate came with whisky infused plums, bitter orange sorbet with hops and crunchy sourdough croutons.
The accompanying wine was no less inviting, the curiously named Fashion Victim Moscato Rose, a prosecco-style sparkler tinted by the addition of pinot noir, delivering bags of strawberry and raspberry fruit with a surprisingly creamy texture.
Excellent ingredients, accomplished cooking, intriguing setting, super supper value.